From time to time I want to preach a sermon that is all about the BIG picture, a sermon that steps back from most of the details and helps me gain perspective. Today I want to preach about Gods desire to be near to you. So, we will consider a brief overview of the whole Bible and focus in on the Book of Exodus, and some practical responsive steps.
The Big Picture
Genesis 3:8-10 God, prior to the fall of man, is enjoying full fellowship with Adam and Eve. God walks in His garden with human beings. The fall destroys this ability to relate so freely.
Revelation 21:3-4 God is once again able to relate freely to the people He created for the very purpose of fellowship/relationship.
Everything that happens between Genesis 3 and Revelation 21 is about Gods pursuit of you. He longs for your fellowship with a passion that compels Him to seek you out so that you and He can enjoy one anothers presence.
Gods Unfolding Plan
The Lord chooses a faithful man, Abraham, to begin a nation of priests. He is preparing a nation to bear His character before the world and eventually to receive the Messiah, who will bear away all the sin/rebellion of the world.
God promises Abraham descendants beyond number and a homeland (Ge 15:5, 13, 14)
Israel goes into Egypt as a small group of about 70 people. But they come out numbering about 2 million. God demands through Moses that Pharaoh release His people. Pharaoh refuses.
God rescues them through mighty miracles in order to bring them to Himself into His presence.
The Old Covenant
Exodus 19 and 20 show us Gods desire and preparation to dwell with His people.
I believe God would have preferred to be in direct one to one relationship with each of His people. But, that would have to wait until Jesus ascension and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
But, God gets as close as He can without hurting them (Ex 24:9-13).
Being with God Regularly
God gives instructions for a place, the Tabernacle, and a time, the Sabbath, to meet together and to enjoy each others presence.
This principle is the same under the New Covenant. We need structure and habit to help us to consistently be in Gods presence.
Let me clarify presence. God is omnipresent, so we cant go any place where He is not already there. I am describing His manifest presencewhen His presence is experienced, sensed and enjoyed.
Why Would we Respond and Seek His Presence?
He wants to bless you!
We were made for this very purpose, to fellowship with God. Without Him, we are restless and unfulfilled. We all seek a way of being, of living that will lead to happiness. Our problem is that we pursue things or fame or power or pleasure, etc.
True fulfillment is only found in intimate, presence-filled relationship with Him.
How do we Live in His Presence?
Repent of, turn away from, give up on finding happiness, joy and fulfillment outside of Him.
Surrender your life to Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38).
Receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God. Allow Him to make you His tabernacle, His dwelling in such a way that you experience His presence.
Set a regular time and place to be with Him. This can be done with others or alone.
a) Praise Him
b) Confess known sin
c) Go soft inside
d) Speak in tongues/get in the Spirit
f) Stay with Him
The Lord has pursued us with a passionate love. He wants to be with us. Will we pursue Him in response?
Describe the first time you felt Gods presence.
How do you get into His presence?